EU ex-post audits: time schedule
An EU ex-post audit within the field of research funding will always include a visit "on-the-spot", either by the Commission’s internal auditors or the respective mandated external auditors. Although external audit firms might be appointed to carry out the audits it is solely the Commission who decides which beneficiaries become subject to an ex-post audit as well as which consequences might result out of the auditors’ findings.
Generally, an ex-post audit follows the following procedure:
- The EC contacts the beneficiary via a letter of announcement that informs about the projects to be audited and includes a list of all documents required by the auditor in order to prepare the on-the-spot audit. The – external or internal – auditors then get into contact with the auditee directly to arrange a suitable date for the audit work at the beneficiary’s premises. Usually the beneficiary receives the initial letter 1-2 months, but at least 3 weeks in advance.
- The field work on-site usually takes 2 to 4 working days including a final discussion between representatives of the audited organization and the auditors to discuss the main findings.
- The following preparation of a Draft Audit Report by the auditors and the subsequent reconcilement procedures with the EU generally take about 2-5 months. The auditee will get the opportunity to comment on the findings of the Draft Report. These comments will be included into the Final Report.
- The Final Audit Report is sent to the EC that closes the audit procedure either with or without consequences (e.g. extrapolation, recovery order), depending on the findings. Beneficiaries are informed about the results and the next steps in a letter of conclusion that also includes the Final Audit Report.